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Prapatti

Prapatti (Skt., ‘seeking refuge’). A key-concept of Srīvaiṣṇava theology. Synonyms are the Skt. śaraṇāgati (‘arriving for protection’), nyāsa (‘placing down [one's responsibilities]’ and the Tamil aṭaikkalam (‘resorting [for protection]’). As a technical term, prapatti does not yet occur in the theological works of Rāmānuja, although its existence in the related traditions of the Pāñcarātra and Vaikhānasas is earlier. Post-Rāmānuja theologians, belonging both to the Teṉ- and Vaṭa-kaḷai, employ it as a central term in their discussion. It now denotes the acceptance of Viṣṇu's grace which has been made available universally through the scriptures, his temple incarnations (see AVATĀRA), the hymns of the Āḻvārs, the teaching of Rāmānuja, etc. Thus it is the ‘means’ of achieving salvation. Ultimately prapatti is the realization (in both senses of the word) of a factually given situation—total human dependence on Viṣṇu—which has been obscured by a separate self-awareness (ignorance) due to past karma.

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